Training Within Industry

What is training whitin industry

TWI is a way for the company to activate and sustain over time a process of continuous improvement through the enhancement of the skills of its employees.

It started in the United States during World War II to help turn the American industry into a war industry and increase production capacity at a time when  most of the workforce has left factories to fight at the front.

Referring to its origins, rather than a training program, it is correct to conceive it as a “change” program that, through the creation of method and process standards, allows to transform in a rigorous and structured way the mindset of people.

Developing managerial skills

Often in companies embarking on a Lean Transformation path, the main criticality which is encountered, after an initial start-up period of targeted pilot projects, is to broadly promote the culture of continuous improvement so that at all levels people make it their own.

Top Management usually has a high-level view, but is unaware of the operational details of the processes that form the basis of the organization. With the operators, on the contrary, resides a specific and vertical know-how but it may lack an overview including aspects related to the entire organization.

In this sense, the key figures who serve as a “hinge” between strategy and operations are the “supervisors”, i.e. shift managers, department heads, line managers, room managers, middle managers and therefore anyone who coordinates the activities of other people and must also instruct them on the jobs they must perform.

The method is built on 3 pillars that, in a synergistic way, go to enhance 3 skills that any “intermediate manager” should possess:

  • ability to educate their employees, that is, to enable them to quickly learn how to do a certain operation in a correct, safe and conscientious way;
  • ability to manage relationships with employees in the workplace, in order to induce them to get involved in improvement activities, without needing to be pushed by their boss to do so;
  • ability to improve the methodology to do a determined work, asking oneself a number of questions on the tasks and their chronology to be followed.

The standard kit

The 3 pillars mentioned above are matched by 3 programs:

  • Job Instructions– This element is critical to the standardization of each elementary unit that the person is called to perform within an operation. The program provides a training method structured on 4 specific steps, designed to ensure effectiveness in teaching;
  • Job Relations: obtaining genuine relationships at work and the resolution of relational problems is the goal of this program, structured on 4 fundamentals: feedback, rewards, anticipation of information and the enhancement of skills;
  • Job Methods: The goal of this program is to optimize processes by making the best use of the people, equipment and materials currently available. Breaking down a process into individual operations defines what to delete, reorganize, put together, or simplify.

6 Sigma

What 6Sigma is

Among the various methodologies for organizational improvement developed in the second half of the 20th Century, one was particularly successful in large companies such as Motorola and General Electric. This methodology is called “6Sigma”.

The name originates from the conspicuous use of statistics with this methodology, especially with its applications in the area of process control.
Along with this, people’s ways of solving problems in dealing with process change and improvement are analysed. To complete its contents, there are organisational models regarding hierarchies and training processes.

Utilization of 6Sigma

Although traditionally adopted by large companies, the principles underlying this approach can also be applied in small and medium-sized enterprises wishing to make the leap towards excellence.

Theory of constraints

To exploit the limiting factors of the organization to generate value

The Theory of Constraints, a result of the ingenuity and practical applications experimented with in many companies all over the world by the Israeli physicist Eli Goldratt, is a real business philosophy that has its main objective in the identification of the limiting factor for the organization, the constraint.

The Constraints

Each organization can be considered as a chain whose links are the processes that interact to achieve the ultimate goal.
If we pull a chain again and again, it will sooner or later break.
At its weakest link. Using the analogy of the chain then, we can see how the weakest link represents the constraint that determines its global strength.
More specifically, the constraint (bottleneck) is the element that determines the rate at which the company produces value in a unit of time.
The innovation in Goldratt’s thinking compared to other management theories, lies in having shown that trying to remove the constraint means we must patiently suffer it, while we strategically decide where it should be placed and manage it to the best of our ability. This is a winning action both from the point of view of profit and control of the system.

To apply a process of continuous improvement in the company: Is it possible?

Yes! By following the steps suggested by Goldratt in his book, The Goal, for optimal constraint management:

  1. Identify the constraint
  2. Exploit the constraint as much as possible
  3. Subordinate the system to the constraint
  4. Check, starting from the first step once again

To give you a clear idea of the results achievable with the application of the TOC we invite you to see this video made by Project Group Srl (Project Group, Ltd.), specialized in the application of the Theory of Constraints.

TPM – Total Productive Management

What TPM is

TPM stands for Total Productive Maintenance and is a production system that aims to achieve the highest business efficiency.

  • Total: means through the active involvement of all staff.
    Productive: stands for the objective of improving plant productivity
  • Maintenance: indicates activity aimed at maintaining the efficiency of the equipment over time

TPM: Where and how does it apply?

The application of TPM brings the greatest advantage in process or capital intensive industries, where equipment and machinery contribute decisively to the production process, and improvement activities are often associated with large investments and the use of external expertise, or are carried out sporadically.
The activities to achieve high efficiency in each company area are based on methodological paths, called pillars, which guide the various activities in a structured and systematic way.

TPM: the methodological approach

  • The development steps

    The steps for the development of the methodology are as follows:

    • Policy Deployment and master plan development
    • Introduction and extension of the pillars:
      • Focused Improvement: continuous improvement of production processes based on kaizen and on OEE performance indicator
      • Autonomous maintenance: the proper management of equipment done by operators
      • Planned maintenance: the proper management of equipment by maintenance technicians
      • Quality Maintenance: continuous improvement and zero defects with the prevention of equipment deterioration
      • Education & Training: management of corporate skills and involvement of people
      • Initial Phase Control (Early Management): improvement of the industrialization process of new products and equipment
      • TPM Office: efficiency and improvement applied in staff offices
      • Safety & Environment: management of safety and energy waste
      • Follow-up of the activities and support to the working teams
    • Alignment and auditing (alignment with the methodology?)
    • Training on methodologies and improvement tools

    The pillars can be introduced either individually to address a specific area or company issue or all together in a multi-year improvement project that may have as an aim the Certification by a third party institute.
    The Certification will reward the commitment to follow the method, the growth of employees and the undeniable results in terms of OEE, cost reduction and increase of profitability.

Lean Management

What Lean Management is

Lean Management is a systematic and long-term approach to the organization of a company, which aims to create “value” for the customer, by maximizing the capacity and use of all the internal resources: men, equipment, facilities, etc.
Lean Management is well founded on the concept of continuous improvement of all processes through the constant search for perfection and elimination of any waste, whether it’s time, energy or money.
Lean Management is not only a system of cost reduction, but a strategy of growth and business development that focuses on the customer and his needs.
Lean Management is a way of thinking and doing that enhances staff potential, by stimulating everyone’s participation in the process of improving corporate performance.

  • Lean Management: more value, less waste

    A Lean transformation process must always start from the awareness of the customer’s needs.
    The identification of the products and service elements and features considered as a “value” by current and potential customers is the first step in recognizing “waste” in internal processes. Waste is comprised of all tasks not directly connected to satisfying customer needs.
    The process of improvement and application of Lean management must be steered Top Down and implemented Bottom Up, because the company’s development strategies must be congruent with process improvement.
  • Lean Transformation: standardized and stable processes

    A Lean Transformation project cannot ignore the preliminary standardization activity of the examined processes.
    Standardizing does not mean reducing flexibility. On the contrary, it means creating the conditions to increase the company’s ability to satisfy customer requests.
    There are many techniques and tools that aim at system reconfiguration, but none of these can leave aside the stability of the processes as a starting point.
    There can be no improvement without stable results.

Lean Management goes beyond simple production management

It is reasonable to think that the Lean philosophy can be applied only to the production sector and only for mass production processes. However, this assumption is not right!
Lean Management is a management system that finds applications in any field and in any type of company:

  • Non-repetitive or custom-made production
  • High-tech companies
  • Design companies or companies operating in the luxury market
  • Process industries
  • Non-manufacturing or service companies
  • Public administration
  • Healthcare

Toyota Kata

What Toyota Kata is

The Toyota Kata is a management system and universal model of creativity, developed by Mike Rother, who studied the management routines behind Toyota’s success in terms of adaptation and continuous improvement.
Through a method of teaching all employees how to use the basic tool of scientific thought, the Toyota Kata transforms the company into a true learning organization that knows how to find and develop the appropriate solutions to the specific problems it has to deal with, and is able to face with success and confidence the uncertainty of future challenges.
Therefore, through the development and empowerment of individuals and teams, this approach enables the company to achieve apparently impossible results and to make continuous daily improvement that is sustainable and aligned with the corporate strategy.

Kata: create the habit of improvement

As neuroscience shows, in order to create or change the culture of a team or organisation, or to develop new ways of thinking, people need to practise targeted behaviours. Mike Rother called them “kata“, borrowing the term from martial arts. He identified two “kata” that support the culture of learning and continuous improvement:

The Improvement Kata enables people to improve and reach new challenges in a scientific and systematic way. Briefly, it proceeds towards sequenced short-term objective conditions in the direction of a more general medium-long term challenge, overcoming the obstacles encountered, through experimentation with small fast steps (“PDCA cycles”).

The Coaching Kata provides managers with a standardized and effective way to purposefully teach their people the Improvement Kata, as real “coaches” of the method.

A “better” model of improvement!

Often in companies, even those “mature” in lean transformation, the model of improvement has limits and weaknesses. To name two, improvement is not an integral part of everyday work, but is carried out as extraordinary event and periodic project, and it is therefore difficult to sustain the results. Moreover, companies often just implement tools or solutions, without assessing whether they are really necessary and effective in the pursuit of strategic objectives.
Thanks to the Toyota Kata, it is possible to develop a more efficacious and sustainable improvement model characterized mainly by:

  • Improvement focused on objectives (purpose-driven), which enables a link between operations and strategy
  • Daily improvement, where at least a small “step” is implemented every day towards the defined process goal
  • Simple improvement, applicable and accessible to any company and to everyone in the company
  • Scientific improvement, based on the experimental iterative approach, which limits risks and costs, and at the same time stimulates the involvement and creativity of people
  • Joint improvement reinforced by continuous learning, through the PDCA dynamics and reflection
  • Cross improvement (content-free) and replicable everywhere, as it is based on a method that is not limited to specific processes, products or technologies, but is applicable to any situation (the “what” varies from time to time, but the “how” is always the same).

Making uncertainty an opportunity to grow

The economic context is perhaps emerging from an era where the main challenges concerned efficiency, and entering an era where the challenges are broader and more complex.
Traditional managerial methods try to confine reality to certainty, which is only apparent, while future methods should be more oriented towards making individuals and organizations effective and positive in managing uncertainty.
If the teams have an effective method, such as the Improvement Kata, to proceed through unknown territory, they will be able to activate and channel their own creativity. More importantly, the unknown, the obstacles and the changes they will encounter will not be seen as threats but as opportunities to learn and improve.
To develop such an approach, it is essential that managers, at every level, develop coaching expertise to enhance the skills of their people, not providing them with instructions or solutions but rather methodological support that makes them proactive and self-effective.